As the school holidays approach, Bedford Creative Arts (BCA) and its dream team of volunteers has delivered 1,800 packs of ‘Let’s Create’ and ‘Take Part Queens Park’ art materials to children in Bedfordshire.
The 1,500 Let’s Create packs have been funded by Arts Council England and facilitated by The Royal Opera House Bridge.
Each pack contains a range of fun and creative items for families who may not have art resources at home during the pandemic, plus an activity sheet from Arts Council England, devised by art teacher Andria Zafirakou (Global Teacher of the Year 2018).
The Bedford packs also include activity worksheets created by local artist educators Katie Allen and Amanda Silk, commissioned by The Culture Challenge.
“We could not let this generous offer from Arts Council England and The Royal Opera House Bridge pass us by,” says Kayte Judge, Cultural Education Producer at BCA.
“With many children at home for extended periods we know that art resources will help families provide positive activities as we move into the summer, so we had to make this happen here and we are pleased to have had the partnerships in place to have let us do so.”
The team at BCA didn’t let COVID-19 prevent them from pulling together a socially distanced production line of volunteers to put the packs together.
Father Paul Messam offered the use of Elstow Abbey as a packing venue and 16 volunteers helped with the monumental task of getting through three pallet loads of materials.
The packs will be distributed to families via schools and to charities that serve underprivileged communities who can benefit from these packs.
The partner schools and organisations include Priory Primary school, Kings Oak School, Livingstone School, Dunstable Ickneild School, Houghton Regis Primary school, Looked After Children Service in Central Bedfordshire, One Housing housing association, The Level Trust and NGYT.
Alongside the ‘Let’s Create’ packs, the volunteer team has made up a second wave of art packs for BCA’s ‘Take Part Queens Park’ project.
These packs have been developed by artists Andy Holden, Mira Calix and Caroline Wendling, and are being distributed to schools in Queens Park, as part of an ongoing project working with communities in the Queens Park area.
Sarah Evans, Take Part Queens Park Producer said of the activity, “Take Part Queens Park is an art project both inspired by and created with the community of Queens Park in Bedford, alongside local artists and will be running until summer 2021.
“The art packs were in response to the Coronavirus lockdown and not part of our original plan, but they have already proved to be popular and we’re really looking forward to seeing the art works the children produce from them.”
With these packs included, the total number of local families supplied with art resources and activities will be over 1800.